In the summer of 2015, Provost Cheryl Brandsen appointed Todd Dornbos director of student retention and first-year initiatives, charging him with leading a cross-divisional effort focused on student success.

“If we accept a student here we are saying to that student, ‘we think you can be successful here, and we are going to invest in your success,’” said Brandsen.

And so over the past year, Dornbos and the Retention Task Force made significant gains in understanding first-year students and their likelihood for success at Calvin.

The task force proposed a plan to resource initiatives designed to organize and strengthen the college’s foundational support systems and practices.

One such example this fall is the launching of the Center for Student Success, a repurposing of what was formerly known as Academic Services. Leaders say the center will coordinate student care and support, much like one would experience in the health care industry.

The college is also investing in faculty development, in research and analyses of retention data, in bolstering the effectiveness of all first-year initiatives, and in evaluating and communicating the success of each of these initiatives.